COLLABORATION BY USING
Sodki Chaari" 2, Loubna Ali', Frederique Biennier', Joel Favrel',
Chokri Ben Amar
INSA de Lyon - LIES?, Lyon, FRANCE
(sodki. chaari, /ouhna.a/i, frederique. hiennier, joelfavrel }@insa-lyonfr
ENI de Sfax .. REGIM, S(ax, TUNISIA
In fast changing markets, dynamic collaboration ability involves establishing
and "enacting" husiness relationships on the fly in an adaptive way. Such
dynamic organization relies on interoperahle and agile IT solutions. A
con temporal)' approach for addressing these critical issues is the Service
Oriented Architecture which can be introduced to implement opened and
flexihle in/brmation system. According~v, collaborative processes can he
implemented as a chain of services resulting ofa service composition process.
Nevertheless, comhining "direct~v" elementary IT sen'ices .trom different
entelprises may lack of security (as the different enterprises can get
information of the partner IS organization) and leads to high~v complex system
due to the IT service granularity. To overcome these limits, we have developed
a service oriented enterprise model which transforms enterprise structure as a
set of well defined Virtual Service. Virtual Services are used to orchestrate
more elementary IT services and are comhined together to form the service
chain according to different policies. As contractual relationships hetween
enterprises are concerned, a particular allention must be paid on the service
level agreements to support an end to end convenient quality of service level.
That is why, we propose to couple the Virtual Service description to a dynamic
service level management system, orchestrated thanks to elementary agents.
Nowadays, organizations are more and more centred on their core competencies and
outsource secondary tasks. This outsourcing policy leads to stronger inter-
organisational relationships often based on service customer/service supplier
relationships to adapt and increase continuously the global performance level and
gain a competitive advantage. Consequently, enterprises focus has shifted from the
improvement of their internal organizational level to the outsourcing strategy and
the inter-organizational level. The combination of service consumer and service
provider can be seen as global virtual enterprise which can be introduced to a third
party as a single entity.
Such collaborative organizations can be more or less stable, depending on the
parties contracting conditions and on the environment context which may require
more or less flexibility and agility (Kutvonen et al., 2005). This agility constraint,
especially in fast changing environments, involves continuous adaptation of both the
enterprise internal organization and collaboration partners selection. This context
leads to the emergence of dynamic virtual markets in which partners are selected for
short or midterm collaboration (Bartelt and Lamersdorf, 200 l). Consequently, a
highly dynamic approach is required to create or retain a competitive position for
Chaari, S., Ali, L., Biennier, F., Favre!, J., Amar, c.B., 2007, in IFlP International Federation for Information
Processing, Volume 243, Establishing the Foundation of Collaborative Networks; cds. Camarinha-Matos, L.,
At:.~armanesh, H., Novais, P., Analide, c.; (Boston: Springer), pp. 521-528.
522 Establishing the foundation of collaborative networks
such an organization where service consumers dynamically determine which service
providers will be selected to support the collaborative business process enactment.
We define such a collaborative strategy as dynamic business process collaboration.
This paradigm implies dynamic selection, contracting, composition and execution of
Several works have addressed this efficient and fast dynamic business process
collaboration: from the structured electronic collaboration between organizations
achieved by Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to frameworks enabling composition,
service orchestration, contract enactment, executing and monitoring business
services. Nevertheless, as the EDI approach focus on structured data interchange
trough electronic transport media (Wob, 2000), it leads to a static connection
between partners and not so much on process integration in dynamic business
service collaboration. On the other hand, several approaches have been proposed to
support inter-organization collaboration, by extending traditional Workflow
Management System (WfMS) technology to distributed, Internet-based scenarios.
For example the WISE project (Lazcano et aI., 2000) proposes an infrastructure to
support inter-organizational process: collaboration processes (named virtual
business processes) are built thanks to black box services published by potential
partners in different registries. Nevertheless as the resulting process consists in the
fixed orchestration of "concrete" IT services, it does not exhibit flexibility or agility
and a particular attention must be paid on Information System (IS) interoperability.
To support this interoperability requirement, standards are emerging and allow a
more dynamic connection between organizations, typically through the use of
Internet and XML technology such as the frameworks based on ebXML (Choi et aI.,
2004) or RosettaNet (Sundaram and Shim, 2001). Nevertheless, these approaches
lack of process integration which may lead to inconsistent service chains.
Focusing on process integration leads either on a multiple Workflow management
strategy (as the cross flow project) or on a service composition approach (as in
eFlow project). Multi Workflow management strategy, as proposed in the Cross Flow
project (Grefen et aI., 2000) involves the Workflow connection according to a
service outsourcing logic. In this case, a service specification is detailed thanks to a
contract described in a XML-based specification language. The contract provides the
structure of the Workflow which implements the service in combination with other
useful ones. The meta-model of both the inter-organizational process and the service
structure is the WfMC process meta-model. A service matchmaker (based on the
CORBA Trading Service) allows retrieving contract satisfying specific requirements.
Services are managed by Workflow management systems and the inter-organization
process enactment is performed by Cooperative Support Services (CSS's), which
link the different Workflow management systems of the involved organizations
through appropriate Proxy Gateways.
On the other hand, the service composition approach as in the eFlow (Casati and
Shan, 2001) involves specifying, enacting and monitoring composite e-Services. A
composite service is described as a process schema (i.e. a graph which combines
basic or composite services and defines the order of execution among the nodes in
the process). Service heterogeneity is taken into account as eFlow provides adapters
for services that support various B2B interaction protocols such as RosettaNet.
Nevertheless, such collaborative strategy relies mostly on the Information
System agility and interoperability. These constraints can be partially taken into
Enhancing enterprise collaboration by using multifaceted services 523
account thanks to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and particularly the Web
service. Such SOA based IS can reinforce a business environment with a flexible
infrastructure and processing environment. thanks to independent, reusable automated
business process and systems functions (services) to either end-user applications or
to other services distributed in a network, via published and discoverable interfaces
(Alamri et aI., 2006, Alonso et aI., 2004, Papazoglou, 2003). Nevertheless, this
approach fits well the IT implementation constraint but needs improvements to fit
the collaborative enterprise requirements.
Accordingly, we extend this approach to the global enterprise level, and not only
to the IT level. The result is a flexible, agile, managed SOA ecosystem that supports
dynamic enterprise collaboration. This architecture is based on SOA and extends it
to a Service Oriented Enterprise (SOE) (Chaari et aI., 2006). Typically, a Service
Oriented Enterprise is an enterprise which implements and exposes its business
processes through a set of well defined business services. Such services are organized
into a multifaceted service called Virtual Services (VS) which bridge the business-
oriented world of dynamic business collaboration and the Web service technologies.
The main issue of this work consists in improving the IT service structure and
functionalities to enable dynamic and flexible business process collaboration through
VS composition (section 2) including end to end service level management (section 3).
2 VIRTUAL SERVICE ARCHITECTURE
The central feature of the Service Oriented Enterprise is the alignment of both IT
and business sides. In fact, we define two abstraction levels: IT services (i.e.
technical services) and business services. On the IT side, Service Oriented
Architecture can be built thanks to traditional methods so that a well defined set of
IT services can be implemented and orchestrated. Business services are associated to
the enterprise business functionalities. They correspond to a set of fine-grained
services called business objects and more coarse-grained services called business
components. These business components encapsulate the Workflow logic of an
activity or the business process they expose. Typically business components are
made of business objects which are composed of lower lev